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Boutique Hotels: worth the hype?


The Caribbean is universally considered to be one of the most exclusive holiday destinations in the world. While most Caribbean travelers decide upon staying in an all-inclusive resort, others prefer to stay in smaller more intimate hotels where a more personalized services can be expected. One category of small hotels that have become very popular is the so-called boutique hotels. People often ask me: “what does the term Boutique hotel actually mean? “  more...


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The Caribbean is universally considered to be one of the most exclusive holiday destinations in the world. While most Caribbean travelers decide upon staying in an all-inclusive resort, others prefer to stay in smaller more intimate hotels where a more personalized services can be expected. One category of small hotels that have become very popular is the so-called boutique hotels. People often ask me: “what does the term Boutique hotel actually mean? “

Boutique hotel is a term that is used for hotels that provide their guests with a luxury, intimate environment, in an often very modern setting with a strong focus on design. The phenomenon started in the 1980’s in major cities like London, New York, and San Francisco. Boutique hotels generally individually owned, operate around a theme, offer between 3 and 50 rooms and offer modern amenities, a high level of comfort (think mattresses), exclusive restaurants and bars and outstanding architecture.

Because of their popularity, every hotel likes to describe itself as a boutique hotel these days and this is how things start to get messy. The golden rule that everything comes with a price certainly goes for this category of hotels. No matter how beautiful the lobby, it is the overall experience that counts and unfortunately there are many so called boutique hotels that cannot back up the image they try to hold up. I have had some experiences where I ended up in rather small rooms, sometimes without opening windows, a television or wifi connection that doesn’t work. This makes the advice and reviews given by fellow travelers especially valuable.

The idea that you can stay in a boutique hotel that looks much more expensive than you can afford is exactly what many hotel owners are marketing on. Larger hotel chains also get involved in the Boutique hotel business. While some people argue that this contradicts the very essence of the boutique hotel concept, I feel this is not necessary a bad thing as long as you and I leave happy and impressed. Luckily, there are plenty of boutique hotels that do deliver the goods. When you know of one, I would be happy to hear from you!

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